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North London Stress Management Centre.
Tel: 020 8444 4871
If not recognised as such by the sufferer, a panic attack, which is typically defined as a period of intense fear or distress, can be an unbearable and deeply disturbing experience. The symptoms usually involve nausea, dizziness, sensations of choking, acute breathlessness and tingling sensations. A panic attack can occur very quickly and without warning or can take a number of hours to slowly build in intensity before gradually subsiding. It can last just a couple of minutes but seem much longer.
Sufferers have feelings of losing control and of wishing to escape from where they are experiencing the attack. Panic attacks differ from other forms of anxiety by their intensity and their sudden, episodic nature. Sufferers may take some comfort in knowing that panic attacks are by no means uncommon and it is estimated that as many as 10% of otherwise healthy people experience at least one isolated panic attack per year. Most attacks are caused by a real or psychological trigger and immediately subside once the trigger is no longer present though the danger is that, when combined with anxiety, each attack can roll into another and can lead to periods of nervous exhaustion that can last over a period of days and, in some instances, even weeks. The feelings of acute anxiety are almost always exaggerated and if the sufferer recognizes this fact, s/he will find it easier, at least to some degree, to cope.
Our treatment focuses on the triggers that induce panic attacks and the therapist will work with the sufferer to address and eliminate the causes utilizing a variety of effective and proven psychological treatments. With therapy, you will be able to understand that a situation does not actually create your fear – it is how you perceive the situation that really matters.
Saying this, if you're currently experiencing an extreme attack, analysing and understanding why it's happening is not going to be of much use to you. It needs to stop RIGHT NOW!
This is where our unique Thought Process Re-Programming technique comes into play, fighting the noise, sensations and physical feelings in real time to help you overcome the immediate attack, diminishing its impact, diluting its damage to such a degree that it starts drifting away, bringing you back to a calmer state of being.
Once you are feeling safe, you can ask yourself why it happened. Were you really in a desperate situation? Was your life being threatened? Were you going to harm yourself or other people? Were you actually in any danger? How would a “non-sufferer” cope with this situation?
Replace any false, negative thoughts that you are now thinking with more realistic, positive statements.
Minimize the chances of the attack re-occuring. Breath deep down into your stomach. Shallow breathing will only increase your anxiety, as will holding your breath.
Try, if you can, to remain at the scene of the attack. Fleeing once the attack has subsided will only entrench your fear and create a memory that says you cannot cope. You have almost certainly gone through more stressful situations where you haven’t experienced an attack.
Remember that when you are panicking, it is only your thoughts that are causing you to feel this way. The more you practice overcoming your fears, the more they and the symptoms of fear will be controlled. We can show you the way. Please feel free to contact us and book your FREE 30 minute Initial Consultation. You have absolutely nothing to lose.